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a life in architecture gavin hewitt

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BBC news reporter Gavin Hewitt says his favourite building is Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (pictured). 'It is bold, confident and dramatic, and has transformed a city. It uses a new material - titanium - to stunning effect. It is one of those buildings where you discover new perspectives every time you walk around it.'

Hewitt's second choice is regularly nominated in this column - William van Alen's Chrysler building in New York. 'I am frequently in New York and always look out for this Art Deco landmark. To me it is a building of the 'New World' There is nothing borrowed about its concept. In its celebration of technology and the motor industry, it is almost futuristic in its design. I am certain the idea of hub-cap gargoyles had detractors, but the Chrysler has become a monument of its time.'

Hewitt goes on: 'My least favourite building is the South Bank Centre in London - a confused complex in one of the capital's prime locations.

'My main disappointment is that Britain's architecture is too rooted in the past. There is little vitality in mock-Tudor and NeoGeorgian buildings. I would prefer our buildings to reflect a confidence in our own time and our own technologies. That is why I am excited by Norman Foster's design for the future Swiss Re headquarters.Some have dismissed this as the 'erotic gherkin' but it is bold, and I predict it will become a visual landmark like the London Eye.'

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